The Hill Collection: Holdings of the LSU Libraries

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

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Cruise of the Pintail

A Journal

Robert L. Winans. James R. Turner

In 1932 a young Fonville Winans (1911–1992) left his home in Fort Worth and set out on the waterways of south Louisiana searching for adventure and fortune. This journal recounts, in his own words, how the now-renowned photographer and his two friends—first mate Bob Owen and second mate Don Horridge—ventured onto untamed Louisiana waters aboard a leaking, rudderless sailboat, the Pintail. Fonville was shooting footage for a movie that he felt certain would make them rich and famous, telling the story of subtropical south Louisiana’s remote coastal landscapes and its curious people. The project was ambitious and risky—just the right combination for three young Texans with hopes of stardom. Developing his photographic skill, Fonville traveled during the summers of 1932 and 1934 to swamps, barrier islands, and reefs, from Grand Isle to New Orleans to the Atchafalaya, making friends and taking pictures. The journal, in effect, layers Fonville’s unique voice over his now-iconic visual record of moving images and stills. Robert L. Winans selected more than one hundred photos to accompany his father’s diary entries, offering a fascinating inner look at Fonville Winans’s world.

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Steward of the Land

Selected Writings of Nineteenth-Century Horticulturist Thomas Affleck

Thomas Affleck. edited and annotated by Lake Douglas

In the first collection of published writings of Thomas Affleck (1812-1868), Lake Douglas re-establishes the reputation of a tireless agricultural reformer, entrepreneur, and horticulturist. Affleck's wide range of interests-animal husbandry, agriculture, scientific farming, ornamental horticulture, insects, and hydrology, among others-should afford him a celebrated status in several disciplines; yet until now his immense contributions remained largely unheralded. Steward of the Land remedies this oversight with a broad, annotated selection of Affleck's works, rightfully placing him alongside his better-known contemporaries Andrew Jackson Downing and Frederick Law Olmsted. After immigrating to the United States from Scotland in 1832, Affleck witnessed the burgeoning American expansion and its major advances in agriculture and technology. He worked as a journalist for the influential Western Farmer and Gardener, covering Ohio, Kentucky, and the Mississippi River Valley. Affleck moved to Mississippi in 1842 to manage his new wife's failing plantation; there, he created one of the first commercial nurseries of the South while writing prolifically on numerous agrarian topics for regional periodicals and newspapers. From 1845 to 1865 he edited Affleck's Southern Rural Almanac and Plantation and Garden Calendar, published in New Orleans. Following a postwar move to Brenham, Texas, he published letters and essays about rebuilding that state's livestock herds and rejuvenating its agricultural labor forces. Steward of the Land includes excerpts from dozens of Affleck's articles on subjects ranging from bee keeping to gar-dening to orchard tending. This valuable single-volume resource reveals Affleck's astonishing breadth of horticultural knowledge and entrepreneurial sagacity, and his role in educating mid-nineteenth-century readers about agricultural prod-ucts and practices, plant usage, and environmental stewardship. Never before collected or contextualized, Affleck's writ-ings provide a firsthand account of the advancement of agricultural techniques and practices that created a new environ-mental awareness in America

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A Summer of Birds

John James Audubon at Oakley House

Danny Heitman

As the summer of 1821 began, John James Audubon's ambition to create a comprehensive pictorial record of American birds was still largely a dream. Then, out of economic necessity, Audubon came to Oakley Plantation, a sprawling estate in Louisiana's West Feliciana Parish. Teeming with an abundance of birds, the woods of Oakley galvanized Audubon's sense of possibility for one of the most audacious undertakings in the annals of art.

In A Summer of Birds, journalist and essayist Danny Heitman sorts through the facts and romance of Audubon's summer at Oakley, a season that clearly shaped the destiny of the world's most famous bird artist. Heitman draws from a rich variety of sources -- including Audubon's own extensive journals, more recent Audubon scholarship, and Robert Penn Warren's poetry -- to create a stimulating excursion across time, linking the historical man Audubon to the present-day civic and cultural icon. He considers the financial straits that led to Audubon's employment at Oakley as a private tutor to fifteen-year-old Eliza Pirrie, Audubon's family history, his flamboyance as a master of self-invention, his naturalist and artistic techniques, and the possible reasons for his dismissal. Illustrations include photographs of Oakley House -- now a state historic site -- Audubon's paintings from his Oakley period, and portraits of the Pirrie family members.

A favorable combination of climate and geography made Oakley a birding haven, and Audubon completed or began at least twenty-three bird paintings -- among his finest work -- while staying there. A Summer of Birds will inform and delight readers in its exploration of this eventful but unsung 1821 interlude, a fascinating chapter in the life of America's foremost bird artist. It is an indispensable pleasure for birders, Audubon enthusiasts, and visitors to Oakley House.

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